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Toshiba Satellite A215-S7422

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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March 23, 2011 11:27:12 PM

I have a Toshiba Satellite A215-S7422 of 2007 vintage that has from start given me problems with its wifi chip. It suddenly cuts out for no reason and then reconnects. The freq of occurence has increased lately to an infuriating pitch! Given that it used to cut out from new but very infrequently could it be a dying wireless chip.

The system is based upon a Realtek RTL8187B radio device. I have opened up the laptop and seen the chip. It seems a half height PCIe device but I can't read the vendor's name (print too small). Could anyone help?

Also, if I have to replace do I have to replace with an RTL 8187B device or could I upgrade to some other vendor device and I am also looking at possibly upgrading to Wireless N standard, although the laptop has only one antenna (wire loop) inside and I believe N standard requires multiple antennas.
a b D Laptop
March 25, 2011 3:29:21 AM

If your laptop has a PCI slot or something similar, you could easily just buy a wireless card that way.
March 25, 2011 10:26:58 AM

buwish said:
If your laptop has a PCI slot or something similar, you could easily just buy a wireless card that way.


Only external slot is an expresscard54. If I use that I run the risk of any antennas getting snagged as the laptop is moved around. Also much neater to have things internally as I am not scared of opening things up.
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a b D Laptop
March 25, 2011 12:52:37 PM

If it is in a pci slot and can be removed most probably you can replace it (should not have to be idential chipset. You could remove it and use a magnifing blass to see if you can read any identifing numbers on it - then google that you you want to find a direct replacement.

If that does not work and you do not want to use the expresscard version, their is also the option of using a USB wireless adaptor - looks just like a USB thumbdrive. I always keep one around as a spare wireless connection for Desktop/laptops.

Word of caution - ESD is a major concern with RH below 30 - > 40 % (colder weather)
March 25, 2011 1:48:23 PM

RetiredChief said:
If it is in a pci slot and can be removed most probably you can replace it (should not have to be idential chipset. You could remove it and use a magnifing blass to see if you can read any identifing numbers on it - then google that you you want to find a direct replacement.

If that does not work and you do not want to use the expresscard version, their is also the option of using a USB wireless adaptor - looks just like a USB thumbdrive. I always keep one around as a spare wireless connection for Desktop/laptops.

Word of caution - ESD is a major concern with RH below 30 - > 40 % (colder weather)


Hi RetiredChief, Thanks for your response. I don't understand your last line though - what is ESD and RH. Sorry I thought I am very computer literate but you have me flumoxed!! What is your point regarding cold weather temp?
a b D Laptop
March 25, 2011 5:01:53 PM

ESD = Electrostatic Disharge. What you get when you walk accross the carpet an touch the door - Several KVs
RH = Relative Humidity
At Lower RH it is easier to build up a electrostatic charge, Below 30 % RH it can be a real problem. You can buils up several hundred volts and NEVER know it. Computer circuits work at a very low voltage and they do not take kindly to having 100 volts applied even though the time is in millisec.
During the winter the realtive humidity ouside is normally low to begin with, but Indoors the temperature increase can result in Very low RH (at work I've seen RH in the teens. At Home I run a Humitifier to keep the houst close to 45 -> 50 % RH.

You can google ESD and get a better understanding.
A friend of mine teaches a class on ESD and I had him send me this link.
Extract:
4.Electrostatic discharge can damage devices so they fail immediately, or ESD may result in latent damage that may escape immediate detection, but cause the device to fail prematurely once in service.
6.Component damage can occur as the result of a discharge to the device, from the device, or from charge transfers resulting from electrostatic fields. Devices vary significantly in their sensitivity to ESD.

http://www.incompliancemag.com/index.php?option=com_con...
March 25, 2011 10:59:40 PM

RetiredChief said:
ESD = Electrostatic Disharge. What you get when you walk accross the carpet an touch the door - Several KVs
RH = Relative Humidity
At Lower RH it is easier to build up a electrostatic charge, Below 30 % RH it can be a real problem. You can buils up several hundred volts and NEVER know it. Computer circuits work at a very low voltage and they do not take kindly to having 100 volts applied even though the time is in millisec.
During the winter the realtive humidity ouside is normally low to begin with, but Indoors the temperature increase can result in Very low RH (at work I've seen RH in the teens. At Home I run a Humitifier to keep the houst close to 45 -> 50 % RH.

You can google ESD and get a better understanding.
A friend of mine teaches a class on ESD and I had him send me this link.
Extract:
4.Electrostatic discharge can damage devices so they fail immediately, or ESD may result in latent damage that may escape immediate detection, but cause the device to fail prematurely once in service.
6.Component damage can occur as the result of a discharge to the device, from the device, or from charge transfers resulting from electrostatic fields. Devices vary significantly in their sensitivity to ESD.

http://www.incompliancemag.com/index.php?option=com_con...


Thanks Retired Chief. That was most helpful but are we the users supposed to worry about these things. Should laptop designers not shield such devices if they are prone or warn in the manual (not that I read the manual cover-to-cover) but being an engineer I would have thought these things are ironed out in the design stage.
a b D Laptop
March 26, 2011 3:20:32 AM

For laptop they do not expect the average person to open them up, they expect a "technician" who Should have a knowledge of ESD Same as a TV. Normally you are OK as long as you do not touch a circuit. However in really low humidity and if you have built up a charge, say 500 - 1 KV and you pick up a memory module you could damage it even though you do not touch the Pins.
!